Parol making

Philippine Independence Day is this Friday 12 June. We will be sharing stories from the local Filipino community on this special day, and some Filipino resources in the lead up. Here is our Multicultural Liaison  Coordinator Lulette, talking about parols and how you make them.

What is Parol-making? Can you guess what Parol symbolises to people from the country of its origin?

Parol means Lantern in English. The parol is a star-shaped ornament which originated in the Philippines during the Spanish colonisation when Spaniards brought Christianity to the country. For Filipinos, making parols and hanging them outside their windows symbolise the victory of light over darkness as well as their shared expression of faith, hope, and goodwill during the Christmas season.

Parol-making is a very important part of Filipino tradition, arts, and heritage. 

The art of parol-making officially began with Francisco Estanislao who is believed to have crafted the first giant Parol in 1908. The parol he made was a traditional five-point star on which he used bamboo strips that he covered with papel de Japon (Japanese paper) illuminated by a candle or kalburo (carbide). Since then, some Filipinos created their own parols using 6 to 8-point star designs decorated with different types of materials.

For many years, parol-making has been very popular in the Philippines not only during the Christmas period but also throughout the year as parols are also being used as traditional decorations at home, in schools, and during community festivals.

Every year, Filipinos in the Philippines and those living abroad, including in New Zealand, are involved in Parol-making competitions especially during the Christmas season. They create parols in different sizes and shapes adorned lavishly with very fancy and luxurious materials including built-in electric lighting. Filipinos are quite competitive and each year, the parols they create are bigger, better, and more spectacular, some even winning top cash prizes.

Parol-making is for anyone who simply wants to learn, create, explore, or have fun. This can also be a fantastic family activity that everyone can enjoy and as a bonus, you also gain a uniquely beautiful home décor!

Learn how to make a paper parol with Lulette

Try some more parol videos

Learn how to make a paper parol

Learn how to make a parol tail

Library resources

Multicultural Liaison Coordinator

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